Using ‘Delhi Corona’ app to find a Covid beds? Here’s a reality check
At a time Delhi is witnessing the third wave of Covid-19, the question on everyone’s minds will be whether there are sufficient beds in hospitals. Health experts have warned that rising pollution levels and over-crowded markets in view of Diwali will lead to a further spike in cases in the national capital.
India Today did a reality check and found that data mentioned in the ‘Delhi Corona’ app, launched by the state government to show real-time availability of beds for Covid-19 patients, was far from reality.
A random check conducted by a reporter of various hospitals deflated the state government’s claim of transparency in the availability of ICU beds in private hospitals. The reporter called up 17 private hospitals to check whether the app is showing the right information about the availability of CoviD ICU beds.
It was found that the information provided only for three of these 17 hospitals mentioned in the app was correct. The numbers of several private hospitals as mentioned in the app were found to be incorrect, some hospitals did not even respond.
The app showed no ICU beds available for Covid patients at the VIMHANS hospital. When the reporter called to check, the hospital’s number mentioned in the Delhi government’s app was found to be invalid.
Another private hospital, Sir Ganga Ram City hospital had two ICU beds available as mentioned in the app. However, when contacted on the number provided in the app, there was no response.
Similarly, the Holy Family Hospital at Okhla had five ICU beds available as shown in the app, but there was no response on the number mentioned.
At the Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, there were seven beds available according to the app. However, when the reporter tried to contact the number mentioned, it was found to be the wrong number.
There were no beds available at the Maharaja Agrasen Hospital, Punjabi Bagh, as mentioned in the app. But the contact number mentioned in the app was found to be not reachable.
The app mentioned that there were no beds available at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Sarita Vihar. When India Today tried to contact the number mentioned, there was no response.
Similarly, according to the details mentioned in the app, there were five ICU beds for Covid-19 patients available at the Akash Healthcare Hospital, Dwarka. However, there was no response on the number mentioned in the app.
The contact number mentioned of Pushpavati Singhania Hospital, Sheikh Sarai, was found switched off while six ICU beds for Covid patients were mentioned in the app. At Mata Chandan Devi Hospital, Janakpuri, one ICU bed was available as shown in the app. When contacted, there was no response on the number mentioned in the app.
St Stephen Hospitals’ response to the query was quite unique. According to the app, there was one ICU bed available for Covid patients. But when the reporter called on the number mentioned in the app, a hospital employee denied having any vacant ICU bed claiming ‘the ventilator is free but the bed is occupied’.
“Yes, it is showing on the app that we have one bed available. But here we have only one ventilator that is free, the bed on which it can be placed is full,” said a hospital employee when confronted with details on the app. The hospital is in the Tis Hazari area of Delhi.
The HAHC Hospital, Hamdard Nagar, had five beds as mentioned in the app, but when contacted, hospital staff said only four beds are vacant. “We have only four ICU beds with ventilator available. We can’t say how it is showing five in the app,” said a hospital employee.
At Sant Parmanand Hospital, Civil Lines, the app showed three vacant ICU beds for Covid-19 patients. However, there was no response on the number mentioned in the app.
As claimed by the government, the real-time data on the ‘Delhi Corona’ app showed that there were five ICU beds available for Covid-19 patients at Shanti Mukund Hospital, Vikas Marg Extension. However, the hospital denied having any vacant ICU beds.
“Currently we don’t have any vacant bed. It may be showing in the app but we don’t have right now. You may call in the evening to check if any patient has been discharged, then only you can get one bed,” said a hospital staff when contacted.
Maha Durga Hospital, Model Town, was one of the few private hospitals that confirmed the availability of beds as mentioned in the app. The app showed three ICU beds available at the hospital for Covid-19 patients. “We have three beds available at daily charges of Rs 15,000-20,000,” said a hospital staff when contacted.
On Wednesday, the ‘Delhi Corona’ app was showing that no ICU bed for Covid-19 patient is available at the Batra Hospital. When India Today called to check, the hospital confirmed that there are no beds available. “Sorry all the ICU beds, which have ventilators are full,” said a hospital employee.
Despite the app showing the availability of three ICU beds at Metro Hospital, Preet Vihar, the hospital denied having any vacant beds claiming they have one spare ventilator, but no bed to use it. “We have only one spare ventilator but the beds are full. We don’t have beds to place the ventilator,” said a spokesperson of the hospital.
The Binsups Hospital, Dwarka, was also one of the few hospitals that responded positively to the queries. The app showed three vacant ICU Covid beds at the hospital which the hospital staff confirmed.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Delhi High Court has stayed the state’s order to increase ICU beds in private hospitals. The Delhi government has filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP in the Supreme Court to lift the stay on the reservation of beds in private hospitals, keeping in view the critical Covid-19 situation.
The state government has also decided to increase targeted testing in crowded places across Delhi, such as markets. Mobile testing vans will be deployed in markets and crowded places across the national capital.
(Inputs by Pankaj Jain in New Delhi